Press Archive

10 Best New Orleans Restaurants for 2017, December 2016

Coquette, New Orleans, LA This summer, Kristen Essig joined Michael Stoltzfus as co-chef and partner at Coquette. It was not entirely shocking news; the chefs were already partners in life. Still, neither appeared in need of the other's professional help. Essig had developed a fine reputation for soulful, Frenchish cooking at Meauxbar. How would her influence impact Coquette, where Stoltzfus has been converting the stirrings of his imagination into a very personal iteration of modern American cooking for eight years now? To be honest, I don't know. What I do know is the meal I had at Coquette two months after the partnership was formed was every bit as delightful as the one I had last spring. Stoltzfus has never been afraid to use science lab techniques to bend ingredients to his will, pushing a lot of dishes toward the avant-garde, but Coquette's food has always been grounded in an appreciation for things as they are. The flights of fancy double as respectful tributes to familiar sources of inspiration, be it shrimp and grits, mozzarella-watermelon salad (money ingredient: purslane) or Southern fried chicken (that's hot paprika dancing on your tongue). There's reason to believe the arrival of Essig, whose cooking has always been more classically ingredient-driven, will only strengthen the creative enterprise -- a delicious thought, when you consider how strong it is already.

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Chef Michael Stoltzfus—New Orleans Magazine Chef of the Year, December 2013

New Orleans Magazine / December 2013 / Best of Dining 2013 CHEF OF THE YEAR Michael Stoltzfus Charting his own path The danger with becoming a successful chef, if you love to prepare food, is that you tend to spend more of your time managing other cooks than cooking. Chef Michael Stoltzfus told me that when he was faced with that problem recently, it led him to start doing something he hadn’t before. He began saying “no.” Stoltzfus opened his first restaurant, Coquette, in 2008, and ever since, he’s steadily been accumulating both praise and employees. From a starting staff of nine, including only three in the kitchen, Coquette now employs 40. He has been nominated for Best Chef, South by the James Beard Foundation and named a Star Chef by Food & Wine Magazine, among other accolades. With the attention came requests to participate in all manner of projects, and for a while Stoltzfus accepted pretty much everything. It kept him away from Coquette, and ultimately he decided to be more selective.

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5 Bites of New Orleans, November 2016

A must-do in New Orleans is strolling down a portion (or all) of the six-mile span of Magazine Street. Magazine is littered with shops, cafés, and restaurants nestled between stretches of residential houses. (One favorite boutique is Grandma's Buttons, should you be seeking unique jewelry and cute clothing.) Magazine weaves through different neighborhoods, but one of the most lively and charming sections is in the Garden District. Here, you will find Coquette, a modern American bistro from James Beard-nominated chef Michael Stoltzfus. Based around seasonal and local foods with Southern influence (and not just because of the current trend, Stolzfus has followed this philosophy since opening in 2008), Coquette offers a well-edited, changing menu of hit after hit accompanied by an international wine list and a twist on New Orleans cocktails. The black drum fish dish, which you'll see on many NOLA menus, was the best I had in the entire city. The smell of lavender hits your senses just before you dig into the perfectly seasoned ciabatta and rosemary breadcrumb topping. The desserts were also spot on — particularly the peanut butter pudding. If one is feeling adventurous, the blind tasting involves the chef delivering to the entire table whatever he deems best in the moment.

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The Times Picayune, Brett Anderson, October 2012

New Orleans' Top 10 Restaurants for 2012.

Zagat 27/30,

"Thriving” in the Garden District, this “dynamite” venue enamors guests with its “beautiful”, “brilliant” and “seasonal” French bistro fare (including “terrific small plates”) by “innovative” “up-and-coming” chef Michael Stoltzfus; “luscious cocktails” and a “stylish” setting that’s “atmospheric in that wonderful old New Orleans way” add to the “charm”, so even if the “engaged” service “could use a tad more polish”, most feel it “does everything right.

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A Wild, Tipsy Eating Marathon in the “New” New Orleans, April 2013

Thanks to demanding diners and improved suppliers, chefs are accessing better produce than ever. We see plenty of evidence of that: At the five-year-old Coquette, one of the city's new breed of modern American bistros, lusty Gulf shrimp and grits are complemented by a plate of raw and pickled vegetables arranged into a composition as colorful as a Chihuly glass sculpture...

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The Times Picayune, Brett Anderson, May 2012

"Pastry Chefs Adding Luscious Layers to New Orleans Dining Experience"

The Times Picayune, Brett Anderson, June 2009

"Coquette is a neighborhood place with intelligent, creative food, an inviting bar and frequent drink specials that draw on both an eclectic cocktail repertoire and a concise but captivating wine list. It sounds simple enough, yet it's difficult to think fo a local restaurant to compare it to.

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What I Learned from Mom, May 2013

Notable New Orleans chefs share what their mothers taught them in the kitchen and beyond.

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Blackened Out, Rene Louapre, April 2011

Not only is Coquette running with the big boys, in some ways it is setting the pace. Take for instance the fact that Chef Michael Stoltzfus has melded the higher end cooking of places like Restaurant August (where he trained under John Besh) with the farmer's market driven menu of the new American Bistro.

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Coquette Featured in Bon Appetit, May 2013

Of all the shrimp and grits you can find in New Orleans, we love this version for its robust sauce and rotating cast of seasonal vegetables.

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The South’s Tastiest Towns: New Orleans,

A masterful, provocative gumbo of oysters and innovators.

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Chef Michael Stoltzfus named semifinalist for James Beard Awards, Best Chef South, February 2016

The James Beard Foundation announced today its list of Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists for the 26th annual James Beard Foundation Awards. Selected from a list of more than 20,000 online entries, the prestigious group of semifinalists in 21 categories represents a wide range of culinary talent, from exceptional chefs and dining destinations in ten different regions across the U.S., to the nation’s top wine and spirits professionals, best new restaurants, rising star chefs, pastry chefs and bakers.

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